Who Could Have Known

That people would have trouble finding the money to go to a doctor during a major recession — or that universal health care would have prevented that?

WASHINGTON — The economic crisis in the United States has reduced the use of routine medical care, and the cutbacks here are much deeper than in countries with universal health care systems, researchers say in a new report.

The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, finds that “Americans, who face higher out-of-pocket health care costs, have reduced their routine medical care” much more than people in Britain, Canada, France and Germany.

Individuals and families in all five countries lost income because of unemployment and lost wealth because of steep declines in stock prices.

“We find strong evidence that the economic crisis — manifested in job and wealth losses — has led to reductions in the use of routine medical care,” the researchers said.

“Reductions in care were far greater in the United States than elsewhere,” they said, in part because about 15 percent of Americans are uninsured, whereas the other countries have near-universal coverage.